Nobel laureate to discuss temperature and fate of universe

ATTENTION: Reporters covering science, education

WHAT: A free public lecture, “Lazy vs. sloppy: The epic story of energy, entropy, temperature, the ultimate fate of the universe and the role of divine intervention,” by 2001 Nobel Laureate Eric A. Cornell.

Sponsored by the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, the talk is part of the 21st International Conference on Laser Spectroscopy, a six-day meeting held every two years and hosted this year by UC Berkeley.

WHEN: 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, 2013

WHERE: Pimentel Hall, UC Berkeley campus (see map)

2001 Nobel laureate Eric Cornell of the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

WHO: Eric A. Cornell shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics with Carl E. Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle for chilling atoms to such low temperatures – several billionths of a degree above absolute zero – that they formed a new state of matter called a Bose–Einstein condensate. Cornell is a fellow at JILA (Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics), a physics research center operated jointly by the University of Colorado in Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

DETAILS: Cornell’s talk will be a one-hour informal presentation touching on some of the most profound ideas in science: What does “temperature” really mean? How does water “decide” whether it should be liquid or solid ice? How can scientists say “the disorder of the universe always increases” when we see examples all around us of beauty and order coming newly into existence, seemingly spontaneously? Does this beauty and order require the divine intervention of an organizer or designer?

The June 9-14 meeting is expected to attract hundreds of scientists from around the world, including at least seven Nobel laureates, among them former UC Berkeley professor and U.S. Energy Secretary Steve Chu. Areas of discussion will include precision tests of fundamental symmetries with atoms and molecules, ultra-fast atomic and molecular dynamics studied with attosecond lasers, quantum many-body physics with ultra-cold atoms, artificial atoms, and quantum information science with trapped ions. Dmitry Budker, UC Berkeley professor of physics, is co-chair of the conference.

NOTE: Reporters interested in attending the laser spectroscopy conference should contact Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Media Relations:, (510) 643-6998.